Friday, July 30, 2010
You might think it is much more difficult to be a writer today then it was 10, 20, 0r 30 years ago. Nora's reply to you is: BULLSHIT.
Nora gave a fantastic speech at our luncheon yesterday, but I'm crazy busy so here's the bottom line:
Eventually, you've got to jump in the pool. (Pool being the publishing world.) Don't stand around bitching about how deep it looks, or how high the diving board is, or how scared you are. Jump!
Once you're in the pool, don't bitch about how cold or warm it is, don't worry that you're going to sink, don't complain about how tired swimming makes you, don't be jealous of the people swimming faster or better than you. You are wasting way too much precious breath and energy. JUST SWIM.
Yes, the journey of an author is hard.
It's supposed to be hard.
The hard is what makes it special.
Taking on the hard is what makes us special.
Go to conferences, meet other writers, develop lasting friendships with people who "get it."
Ride the hard.
But remember, you don't have to ride it alone.
In 10, 20, or 30 years when a new writer comes up to you, respecting you as a published author, and telling you that it used to be so much easier when YOU were trying to get published, you too can smile at them and say, "Bullshit. I rode the hard. So can you."
Happy Writing! I'm off to seminars and--EEK--a pitch appointment. Wish me luck.
More to come soon!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
BUTTERFLY TATTOO by Deidre Knight
and...I know you will all be shocked, but, wait for it...
FORGIVE MY FINS by Tera Lynn Childs. (Mermaid Power!)
Tera and I even matched. (I'm pretty certain there was a great-mermaid-minds-dress-alike phenomenon going on.)
Meg snagged the very last copy of HIS AT NIGHT by Sherry Thomas right before she sold out!
We tried to get Ally Carter's newest book, but she had sold out too. (Did I mention we arrived late?) Ally did chat with us and apologized for not having books, and I have to say, she is adorable and charming in person.
All the ladies were so sweet and friendly. I get intimidated trying to talk to those who have "made it" as an author, so imagine how I felt walking into a ballroom of 500 of them! But it really was a lovely time and judging from the long lines at checkout, I think they raised some serious money for literacy. So yay!!!
Today Nora Roberts will be the keynote speaker at lunch, then I'll be attending seminars.
More to come. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I am fully prepared to follow through with your requests. Updates, photos, and yes, even vlogs will be forthcoming.
Happy RWA Day!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I’ll be at the RWA conference in
So, a question for you lovely people who read my ramblings but aren’t attending: Do you want to live vicariously through me?
If so, what do you want from me?
Do you want posts and updates on the cool things I’ve learned?
Do you want embarrassing details of my pitch appointments?
Do you want live tweets from the conference floor?
Do you want pics?
I shudder to even ask this next one but…do you want vlogs?
Or would that stuff bore you senseless?
For anyone reading this who IS attending, make sure to tell me in the comments so we can meet live and in person. I’m warning you though, if my blog peeps demand pics of writers I’ve met, be prepared to pose and smile for the camera. ;)
Monday, July 19, 2010
This picture was taken of me years ago at Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. My temporary happy place. Back then, I believed I needed a magical setting to see magic in the world. When I sat atop that wall I had a view of everything and nothing. I didn't know what I was doing with my life. I felt lost, and didn't know where I was heading, but I knew how to escape.
Above that stone wall was a cerulean sky, where angels hid in fluffy clouds. If you listened hard enough--when your ears expanded beyond the crashing of waves below--you could hear the swishing of grass skirts as some cherubs played leapfrog over a rainbow, while others kept storms calm by serenading them with ukulele music.
The wall overlooked aquamarine waters where dolphins danced during every sunrise and sang at every sunset--while deep below the surface, mermaids and selkies applauded them.
In the not-so-far distance stood an emerald mountain where--when the sunlight hit just right--you could see the sparkle of fairy wings flitting among the palm tress.
I created endless stories as I sat on that wall, yet I had no idea I was a storyteller. I had written, but I didn't know I was a writer.
I thought it was the place that made me happy: the island breezes, the aloha spirit, the ebb and flow of the ocean. But it wasn't the place; it was the stillness and excitement, the wonder and beauty, the unpredictable details and infinite possibilities. The feeling of living my story, which consisted of imagining fantastical new ones.
No matter how congested and busy life gets, no matter how many wrong paths I wander down, no matter how many road blocks or dead-ends I encounter, I now know the way back. Back to Happy Island. I can't get there by car, boat, or airplane; all I need is my imagination (but a pen or laptop comes in handy too).
My happy place is writing. Creating stories where my characters can be the people I am not, or parts of who I am. Where I get to paint a picture of how I wish the world could be, or erase the ugliness I wish I'd never seen.
I have finally figured out my role in my own story called life. I am a storyteller. And whether or not a hero ever rides in on his white horse, no matter how drastically my character arc changes, however many plot holes I may stumble into, I know the secret of every book is to keep turning the page. Keep going. Keep believing. Happy is a feeling, it's not a place.
My happiness is writing, creating, storytelling.
As long as I can do that, I am living my happily ever after.
What about you? Have you found your happy place? Or are you still searching?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
THE HOKEY: aka Why I AM Cut Out To Be A Writer:
I had one heck of an imagination as a kid. Back then, my parents called it lying, and punished me for it…a lot. However, if I just put a disclaimer that “this is fiction” before my tall tales, it becomes a story instead of a lie. And nobody punishes me (except myself when I think it’s not good).
MY PEOPLE WATCHING SKILLS
…are Olympic league status. If they’d make people watching an Olympic sport, I’d win a gold medal. Because of my PW skills, I notice stuff. Then I make that stuff part of my characters' personalities. I create stories from the stupid, quirky, and fascinating things people do.
…ain’t that bad. I’m no English professor, but I’m pretty sure I grasp the general concept and rules behind sentence structure. I could definitely improve my skills. There is always room for improvement. Or at least that’s what the cliché Gods tell me.
MY COMMON SENSE
I could never be one of those aspiring authors that gets a rejection letter and writes the agent back telling them they’re missing out on the next Harry Potter. I would never be so stubborn as to think my MS is perfect and not take suggestions or critique on how to make it stronger. What’s that cliché Gods? Oh yes, it is worth repeating; there is always room for improvement. Which brings me to…
I know I’m no Stephen King. I know I haven’t written the next Twilight. I know that even if my book ever does get published, some people will hate it. BUT, some people might love it. And through all the hokey and pokey, that’s what it’s all about.
Now with all that being said,
THE POKEY: aka Why I AM NOT Cut Out To Be A Writer.
Do I really have anything to say that hasn’t been said 100 times before in every way possible? My imagination is good, but can it compete with the other millions of writers out there?
MY PEOPLE WATCHING SKILLS
I hear and read the stories and struggles of all the writers around me. I've met people at conferences who have been writing for decades without ever being published. I’ve heard the horror stories. I’ve read the statistics. I’ve seen with my own eyes that it’s next to impossible.
…ain’t that good. My writing is nowhere near perfect. A friend told me “It doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s what editors are for!” But she’s wrong. The writing has to be phenomenal--especially in this market. Use too many adverbs, say “was” too much, misuse commas and colons and you’ve signed your own form rejection letter. Fact is, there’s just too much talent out there, and many aspiring writer’s DO have perfect manuscripts.
MY COMMON SENSE
Fewer deals are being made. Agents are taking on fewer clients. Due to the recession more people than ever are trying to write a book and get it published. The odds of getting an agent are slim. The odds of getting published? I might as well take up a career in getting struck by lightening. I know my odds. They are against me.
There’s always been that voice inside of me that doubts myself. Me? Become a best selling author? Have a following of fans that wait on the edge of their seats for my next book to come out? Readers will line up to ask for my autograph? Yeah, right.
So, which is it? Hokey or Pokey?
Am I a writer or aren’t I?
Truth is; it’s not a question. It’s not a decision I made. It just sort of happened. I don’t have a say in the matter. My stories have been written. Another new one is churning through my mind, fighting to become black words on my white computer screen. So I have to keep writing. If for no one else, then for my characters. I can’t just leave their lives unfinished in a make believe world I created. How cruel would that be?
Some days there will be rejections, tears, and harsh criticism. Other days there will be a critique partner who says “This is a perfectly perfect paragraph,” or another reader tells me they loved Nathan more than Edward (True! I swear!) Those are the days that keep me writing. The moments when I stare at my crazy fantastical stories and smile.
Maybe my stories won’t ever get published, but maybe they will. Cliché Gods assure me that “Only time will tell.” Until then--however far THEN may be--I'll keep trying to be a better writer (self-doubts and all). Because what if, one day, an agent does love my story? And then a publisher loves my story. Maybe one day all of this work will result in a letter from a fan that says, “Thank you for writing this.”
THEN, all of this hokey pokey will turn itself around.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Without further ado, my letter to Mr. Lyga...
My Dearest Barry,
I haven’t read any of your books.
Sorry about that, but I thought we should start our relationship with brutal honesty. I mean, you write about superheroes and comic bookish stuff. I figured you could handle brutal honesty.
I have done some level 2 stalking of you via your website. Don’t worry; level 2 is not an insult. It just means I’m emotionally stable and not the type of person to stalk anyone at a level higher than 3. (Level 10 is scary restraining order type stuff and the only person I could picture myself being that obsessed with is James Howlett (aka Logan), but since he’s a fictitious character I’m sticking to my guns on the emotionally stable proclamation.)
As you may have guessed I was intrigued by your novel WOLVERINE: WORST DAY EVER. However, Sara,
Andbutso, I started reading up on some of your other books. I am now determined to win one. I’d prefer to win all of them but I worry that if I read all of your books I’d become a diehard fan and start foaming at the mouth for more. Reviewers say your stuff is witty and snappy, serious and absorbing, authentic, fast-moving, and—well, you probably already know what they’ve said. If your stories are truly that great then I could easily cross into a level 6 or 7 zone. Add to the equation the fact that you’re pretty darn attractive and we’re bordering on level 8. Level 8 stalking might put a damper on our newfound relationship.
However, I’m dedicated to making this relationship work. When I’m dedicated to something I’m unstoppable. Like, superhero (or sultry villain) unstoppable.
For example, I’ve already contacted your old college roommate Alex and he agreed to create a mechanized bulletproof exoskeleton flight suit that will allow me to fly to your big city so I can demand any and all of your books whenever I want.
I don’t want it to come to that. I like you, Barry. Sara and
Just give me a book as a prize and you and I can remain at a cordial and comfortable level 2.
Seriously, just award me a book. It’s the right (and safe) thing to do.
Oh, and Happy Barry Rocks Day!
With all my love,
Disclaimer: No authors, their respected girlfriends, or their college roommates were actually threatened or harmed during the making of this letter. I just have way too much free time.
Friday, July 2, 2010
One of the classics.
The only book Nelle Harper Lee ever had published.
Nelle is now 84 years old.
What I wouldn't give to have one of my stories published--much less to celebrate it's 50th anniversary.
Southern Living magazine has a heartwarming article about Nelle and the anniversary celebration they're having in her hometown, Monroeville, Alabama. Go read it. You'll learn some great stuff--like how Nelle hates being famous--and you'll smile a few times.
My favorite part of the article was near the end. Pat Dye was talking to Nelle and paying her one of the highest compliments you could give an author. He told her she wasn't smart enough to write a book like To Kill A Mockingbird
I know, at first that doesn't sound like a compliment, but maybe you'll understand once you hear the rest...
"Ain't nobody smart enough to write a book like that. To write a book like that you gotta write it with your heart, your soul, your guts, your passion. You can't write a book like that with just your brain."Something for us writers to think about next time we sit down at our computers. Heart, Soul, Guts, Passion= A classic recipe for greatness.
Happy Anniversary, Nelle. You are an inspiration.
This just in: The royal Courtney, aka Southern Princess, is also celebrating TKAM's anniversary on her blog. AND she's giving away awesome prizes. Be sure to stop over and enter.
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